City and England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley believes England are yet to reach their peak at the World Cup.
Bardsley, playing at her third World Cup, has won more than 80 caps for England and is looking forward to the quarter-final against Norway.
“I’m very excited for Thursday. I don’t think we’ve met our full potential yet – we have a very good chance of doing that,” said Bardsley.
“The England team is in a fantastic place to be. We’ve never had more belief in this group than we do today.
“I think we are the most prepared team; the most resilient team.
“We know our strengths inside and out – on and off the pitch. We’ve gained momentum through the group stage and we’ve experienced several different tests.
“This is by far the best team I’ve been a part of in my England career.”
‘KB’ is also pleased Europe dominates the last eight of the competition, with bookies favourites USA the only non-Euro country.
“It’s been crying out for that,” she said.
“Going back years, the World Cup has been dominated by North American teams and teams outside of Europe.
“It’s clear to see that the investment of leagues in the likes of England, Spain, France and Germany has paid off.
“Those leagues are attracting top talent – much like our WSL. It’s only been beneficial for domestic players in those countries. Competition for shirts has been better than ever.
“There’s more rotation in terms of domestic teams, which has exposed players to things they’d never been exposed to before. We’ve upped the bar in terms of performance standards.
“To me, it’s quite apparent they’ve been incredibly beneficial. The investment in those leagues, players and federations has absolutely paid off.
“My opinion is that they need to continue. It’s only going to up the bar again for the rest of the world.
“If this competition is to continue to be successful, it all comes back to the product on the pitch. If the product is exciting, fun to watch and entertaining, we’re always going to have desire and a need for viewership.
“We’re in a great place in terms of European football. I’m proud of the nations, who have made it. I have friends on various teams.
“I think the Champions League has played a large role in our European success.
“I’m very proud of Europe as a whole in this tournament.”